Simon Nixon

What’s keeping the banks buoyant?

‘The central bankers have won,’ a senior City stockbroker said to me this week with an air of resignation. ‘There’s no point fighting them. Investors are doing as they’re told.’ And, wow, how they’re doing as they’re told. Thanks to central bank money-printing, cash is sloshing around the global financial system in desperate search of

Reshoring: how jobs came flooding back to America

It is 20 years since the US presidential candidate Ross Perot railed against globalisation, warning of a ‘giant sucking sound’ as millions of jobs left America and went to foreign factories. The presidential hopeful warned that a new economic curse — offshoring — would shut steel mills and factories without government protection. But listen closely

A catalogue of credit-crunch cant

We live in frightening times. Markets are in freefall; economies are in turmoil; the financial system is on the brink. People want simple explanations and easy answers. They want to know who to blame for the mess and what can be done to clear it up. Just as well, then, that there is no shortage

Time to start putting clients first again

On the face of it, I picked a bad week to volunteer to write about the rebirth of gentlemanly capitalism. My thesis was that the credit crunch would lead to a profound shift in the way the City goes about its business, heralding a return — if not to bowler hats and brollies, liquid lunches

A fundamental crisis of credibility

During the boom years, it was fashionable to say that London owed its success as a financial centre partly to the quality of its regulation. Thanks to the Financial Services Authority’s astonishing internal audit of its supervision of Northern Rock, published last week, we can now see what that means. For Northern Rock, the UK’s

Farewell to Scottish & Newcastle …

Usually the passing of a major UK company into foreign ownership — and with it the ending of British pretensions to global leadership in another industry — is the cue for national soul-searching and recrimination. Not so the demise of Scottish & Newcastle, which finally agreed last month to be carved up by Denmark’s Carlsberg

The Liberal Democrats’ sound money man

I met Vincent Cable recently at a dinner party with a mixture of City and business bigwigs: a few FTSE-100 bosses, a smattering of hedge-fund tycoons, the odd private-equity baron. The Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesman was the only politician at the table and the debate inevitably focused on financial worries: the credit crunch, Northern Rock,

The Tories no longer understand the City

Simon Nixon says David Cameron’s Conservatives must stop sending out such mixed signals if they want to establish serious credibility with the business community Gordon Brown has done many things to discombobulate the Tories since becoming Prime Minister three months ago. But none so effective as the creation of a new ‘business advisory council’ including

A very expensive drop of Scotch

Driving through the pretty towns of Speyside, as I did last week, it’s hard to believe you’re at the centre of a booming global industry. As the road follows the course of the river into the Highlands, you can spot the chimneys of the distilleries every few miles. But they’re mostly small-scale and they still

The City’s new boom market: philanthropy

As we approach the festive season, spare a thought for the children of billionaires. These are joyless times for those holding out for an inheritance. As they climb aboard the private jet that will whisk them off to the yacht where a team of chefs will prepare their Christmas dinner, many will be wondering if

Where’s the beef? What Cameron has to do to win the business vote

Simon Nixon says the Conservatives should start saying a lot more about tax cuts and deregulation and a lot less about ‘work–life balance’ To see where business stands in the Conservative leadership’s current list of priorities, take a look at next week’s party conference agenda. The platform that used to proclaim the Thatcherite gospel of

It’s not the oil, stupid

These are tough times to be a Middle Eastern despot, so perhaps it is understandable if a few of them feel a little paranoid right now. Iraq is under foreign occupation, Iran is in open revolt, and Saudi Arabia is apparently under attack from British bootleggers who look surprisingly like friends of Osama bin Laden.

Jumping on the low-fat bandwagon

Simon Nixon says food companies will make money out of the government’s obsession with obesity – and consumers will pay Sometimes life really does imitate art. It’s less than 10 years since the satirist Chris Morris made his infamous episode of Brass Eye in which he persuaded a host of self-important politicians and celebrities to

The end of Britain’s economic miracle

Simon Nixon on what happens when North Sea oil runs out — and we have to do without the drug that fuelled the boom years The New Labour spin doctor’s handbook has clear guidelines on how to deal with a crisis. First, deny it exists. If that doesn’t work, attack anybody who dares draw attention

Bring back Beeching

Simon Nixon says that we must build more motorways – and scrap railway lines Perhaps the most important discovery I have made over the last few years is that the way to stay sane in Britain is never to use public transport. The Department of Health tells us to eat five portions of fruit a

Whistling in the dark

Power cuts and rolling blackouts are about as Old Labour as rising taxes and paranoia about spooks, so it should come as no surprise that astute observers of the political scene are stockpiling candles. A report published this week explains why. According to the Institution of Civil Engineers (Ice), Britain is heading for a repeat

Why the Tories backed the war

Tories are used to getting blamed for many things, but to be blamed for a Labour Cabinet minister’s lack of principles is surely a first. That was their fate at the hands of Clare Short. For weeks, people have struggled to understand the former International Development Secretary’s failure to resign after calling the Prime Minister’s